Ecological FootPrint

Key Word: Ecological FootPrint — What does it mean? Where did it come from?

Jori Reiken

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A footprint, the mark you make in the sand, or the impact you make on the world, what do they mean? an ecological footprint is a person’s mark, impact, and the effect that they leave on the planet throughout a person’s lifetime. This term has been thrown around through elementary school classrooms, politics, world organizations, social movements and more, but what does it really mean? How does the impact of the word impact people?

An ecological footprint is a calculation, it produces a number that shows how big or small your impact is. It can be represented in how much resources a person uses. The world wildlife foundation defines the ecological footprint “would be to call it the impact of human activities measured in terms of the area of biologically productive land and water required to produce the goods consumed and to assimilate the wastes generated.” (WWF, 2019) These factors are supposed to make a collective measure to compare and contrast different countries impact on the earth, but as well there can be an individual impact, which is calculated by, “adding up all of people’s demands that compete for biologically productive space, such as cropland to grow potatoes or cotton, or forest to produce timber or to sequester carbon dioxide emissions” (Global Footprint Network, 2018) and then they are translated into global hectares to determine the individual person’s footprint. A footprint can be calculated in many other different ways, for example, as time goes on technology use and single use plastics have been thrown into the mix to really make sure peoples impacts are being tracked, as well as allowing people to see how everyday activities and tasks relate to your footprint overall.

The keyword ecological footprint was first used in 1990, when Mathis Wackernagel and William Rees, from the University of British Columbia, launched the ecological footprint as a calculation and the footprint movement (Global Footprint Network, 2019) which called upon individuals and countries to lower their carbon and ecological footprints. Today their idea, is used in individual homes, small and large businesses, cities, and countries. It is used globally to track impacts. The discussion regarding the ecological footprint has turned global, into a global crisis and moving to discuss all aspects of creating products and disposing them to bring in every single impact into the calculation to make…

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